Fresh Foods To Keep Cool This Summer

We’ve got foods to keep cool during the summer months. With the warmest time of the year happening right now (unless you happen to live in Australia or elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere),  you can use these to share with family, entertain guests, or just hole up in your air-conditioned Fortress of Solitude binge-watching House of Cards or Orange is the New Black. These healthy foods are good for you, good ways to beat the heat, and they’ll last up to 10 days longer when refrigerated with a BerryBreeze.

Watermelon

July is quite possibly the hottest month of the year. It is also the peak month for watermelon season. Coming in from a hot, muggy afternoon outdoors and biting into a juicy slice can be close to heaven for some (we just did exactly that, so maybe we’re a little biased at the moment). Watermelon is a fantastic value for the amount you get for the price, and it’s such a versatile ingredient for everything from soups and salads, grilling, and even jello.

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Grilled Watermelon Salad (courtesy of versesfrommykitchen.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1 tsp. peeled and grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic syrup
  • 10 large watermelon cubes (each about 1/2 inch)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. mint, thinly sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

To make the dressing, combine shallots, ginger, sugar and olive oil. Whisk and set aside.

Grill each side of a watermelon on the grill over medium-high heat. Grill for two minutes per side and until grill marks appear.

To make salad, arrange five watermelon cubes on each plate. Sprinkle with feta and mint and and pour dressing over top. Drizzle with balsamic syrup and season with sea salt and pepper.

Blueberries

When it comes to “superfoods“, blueberries seemingly have it all. Thery’re light on calories, rich in flavonoids, and are naturally sweet and delicious. Indigenous to North America, we all know what great muffins and pies they make, but throw a bowlful in the freezer for an hour and you’ve got a yummy frozen snack perfect for cooling off on summer days.

Blueberry Sorbet (courtesy of simplyrecipes.com)

 

blueberry-sorbet-aIngredients

  • 5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed, stems removed and discarded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh blueberries and sprigs of mint for garnish

Instructions

 Place the blueberries, sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl. Stir to coat blueberries with the sugar. Mash with a potato masher.

 Put the mashed blueberries into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth.

 Place a sieve over a large bowl and working in batches, press the mixture through the sieve, using a rubber spatula. This will catch the tougher and larger pieces of lemon and blueberry peel.

 Chill the mixture for at least an hour in the fridge. Then process following the directions of your ice cream maker.

Eat immediately (the sorbet will still be a little soft) or freeze at least a few hours to help firm up before eating. Eat soon after making though, as the sorbet will get progressively harder the longer it stays in the freezer.

Serve with a few fresh blueberries and a sprig of mint.

Tomatoes

Summer is also the peak season for tomatoes, and one of the great pleasures of the season is biting into these juicy, fresh of the vine magnificent  orbs. Always a cool, flavorful delight in a tomato cucumber salad, they also pack a whallop when it comes to antioxidents and phytochemicals that help with everything from sun exposure to memory to lowering the risk of cancer. And who says summer is no time to be eating soup?

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Andalusian Cold Tomato Soup (courtesy of spanishfood.about.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 2 slices of white bread, crust removed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers (or any sweet green pepper)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • Garnish:
  • 1 tsp each of cucumber and green pepper, finely chopped
  • 3-4 croutons (optional)

Instructions

Soak the bread in a small amount (few tablespoons) of water. Gently remove and “squeeze” dry.

Tip: The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to boil water in a medium saucepan. As soon as water boils, turn off heat and place the tomatoes into the hot water for 1 minute. Carefully remove hot tomatoes. The skin will rub off easily.

Place the tomatoes, bread, cucumbers, onions, garlic and peppers in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. All the ingredients may not fit at one time, so you may have to fill the blender several times.

Once gazpacho is completely blended, pour it into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir in the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Garnish with the chopped vegetables and croutons, if desired. Serve gazpacho chilled.

Shortcut to Chilling the Soup: Place ice and water in a large bowl or pot and place in sink. Put the bowl or glass blender containing gazpacho into the ice water. Stir the gazpacho to ensure it cools evenly.

Got a food or recipe that helps you keep cool when it heats up? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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